Prostitution arrests at Philadelphia Mummers club
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - October 12, 2011 (WPVI) -- Police conducted a prostitution raid at a Philadelphia Mummers clubhouse and arrested about a dozen people late Tuesday night.
Ten female prostitution suspects were hauled out of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade clubhouse, located at 2nd Street and Snyder Avenue.
Three men were also arrested.
The ringleader of the prostitution activities was 65-year-old Lawrence Crovetti of Feasterville, Pa., police said. He was arrested for promoting prostitution, a felony charge.
Two of those arrested, 44-year-old Alfred Sanborn and 56-year-old John Murray, are members of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade, police said - Murray is the club's financial secretary and Sanborn is its steward.
They were charged with liquor violations because they were allegedly acting as bartenders though the club did not have a liquor license.
The question is being asked if the two executives were aware of the alleged sex acts going on around them.
"They were aware of it because it was done in open view," Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Bill Blackburn said.
In the clubs defense, publicity director, attorney George Badey III says many Mummers clubs rent out their clubhouses and this appeared to be just another routine rental. That if the allegations are true, the Mummers and the Downtowners organization are as much victims of this as anyone else.
But how does that explain the presence of executives Murray and Sanborn who have also been charged in connection with the case?
"We believe that there were other people that were associated with the mummers also present," Blackburn said.
Action News called Badey to get answers Wednesday night, but the calls were never returned.
So Action News went by his office to speak to him in person, but were told he was on the phone and not available.
There were a number of "Johns" in the building on Tuesday night, police said, but they were not arrested because the officers were not privy to the conversations or actions of those men.
Police say this all began when they got a tip call six weeks ago saying prostitution parties were being held at the clubhouse on the second Tuesday of each month, between 7 and 11:00 p.m.
Police say when they arrived they found 50 to 60 men inside the clubhouse along with 20 females in provocative attire or wearing no clothing at all.
Blackburn explained on Tuesday night, "We introduced two undercover officers tonight. During the course of their stay inside [the clubhouse] they were solicited by ten females throughout the night."
Police say a small amount of drugs and a gun was also recovered from the premises.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Mummers organization said:
"This was not a Mummers' prostitution ring nor a Downtowners Fancy Brigade prostitution ring. All in the Mummers community are shocked by the alleged behavior of the individuals who rented out the Downtowners' Hall.
"Many Mummers clubs rent out their clubhouses, as the Downtowners do, to people and organizations and this appeared to be just another routine rental.
"If the allegations are true, the Mummers and the Downtowners organization are as much victims of this as anyone else.
"The Downtowners Fancy Brigade is cooperating fully with the Philadelphia Police Department to get the bottom of exactly what happened.
"If it is determined that any members of the Downtowners were involved, it was most definitely without the knowledge or approval of the club itself and any such individuals will also be subjected to discipline from the club as well.
"The leadership of the Downtowners has already decided that any club rental paid by these individuals will be donated to charity."
Neighbors tell Action News that they are disgusted by this kind of activity, but they did not want to complain in front of our cameras due to fears of retaliation, including having their windows broken.
Authorities are seeing if administrative action can be taken against the Downtowners from a possible shutdown to forfeiture of the facility for the alleged prostitution activity.
The suspects are:
Lawrence Crovetti 65 year old male from the unit block of 4th Street, Feasterville PA is charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Promoting Prostitution and Violation of Liquor Laws
John Murray 56 year old male from the 400 block of Steeple Chase Circle, Deptford NJ is charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Violation of Liquor Laws
Alfred F Sanborn 44 year old male from the 2400 block of South 3rd Street is charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Violation of Liquor Laws
Michelle Lauber 32 year old female from the 1300 block of Earl Street is charged with Prostitution, Conspiracy, Solicitation and Possession of Narcotics
The below defendants are each charged with: Solicitation and Prostitution.
Virginia Ruiz 46 year old female from the unit block of Tree Lane, Bear DE
Sherry Davidson 40 year old female from the 4300 block of Cottman Avenue
Regina Mahoney 26 year old female from the 4600 block of Deveraux Street
Chiante Galezniak 35 year old female from the 200 block of Widener Street
Adriana Arena 51 year old female from the unit block of County Line Road
Judith Jacobs 36 year old female / 600 block of Jarves Road, Sicklerville NJ
Jennifer Quenderfield 36 year old female from the 100 block of West 7th Avenue, Conshohocken PA
Barbara Gogos 44 year old female from the 100 block of Central Avenue, Cheltenham PA
Alexis Simon 24 year old female from the 700 block of Carpenter Street
philadelphia, pennsylvania, south philadelphia, prostitution, crime
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